So we all have those relatives that just like to bring up the past after one too many drinks or just for the hell of it. Family gatherings can be a combination of both excitement and exhaustion.
How can we survive with little or no wounds, and walk away with memories we will treasure or laugh at.
1. Plan fun activities that keep everyone busy and laughing.
There is nothing as wonderful as laughter and fun to keep things light.
2. Think about past family gatherings
Think about what worked and didn’t, and take this into consideration when planning. Sure you can’t plan for every possible explosive moment, but if you know that uncle Bob is a stirrer then it’s a good idea to keep him busy with the bbq or to sit him next to someone with a great sense of humour, or the ability to laugh it off.
3. Be thankful
Sure they may be a pain in the ass sometimes but they are your family. Be thankful that you have one and celebrate the good things they bring with them.
4. Take a break.
Even if it’s 30 minutes away from the hustle and bustle. Spending time with extended family is great but it can be tiring and leave you with less patience.
5. Be yourself
People change, be true to who you are.
6. Let it go
Holding onto what a relative said or did 5 years ago will not only be detrimental to your own health, but can create a ripple on effect and even destroy family relationships. If possible it’s best to address the nagging issue soon after the event.
7. Don’t over plan or be a perfectionist
Keep it real. This has been a huge learning curve for me. Things will happen that are out of your control. People get sick, tired and have busy lives. Be flexible and try and be understanding if family members can’t make it or have to leave early.
8. Declare off limits topics
Politics and religion are two topics that can create heated discussion. There will usually be at least one person that enjoys bringing up controversial subjects. Have your one line cutoff ready.
9. Limit alcohol till after the event
Alcohol limits our inhibitions. If you have a relative that has traits you find annoying, or you have an unresolved issue with, then it is best to cut back on drinking alcohol until after the event. The same goes for Aunty Sally; if she is known to become confronting when drinking more then best to alternate her drinks with water.
10. Lighten up
Some of the best comedians refer to family members in their acts. Trying to find the humour in situations is a much better option.
At the end of the day/event it’s important to remember that family aren’t around forever, celebrate the moments.
You survived another family gathering, you laughed at bad jokes, you stopped Uncle Bob and Aunty Sally from making asses of themselves and you have a few more funny stories, moments and memories to use in future conversations or perhaps refer to in your next comedy sketch.